Posted in TV Stuff

5 TV Episodes about Episodes

There’s a trend at the moment of being Meta. TV shows and films about TV and films, it’s all very clever and self aware and I get what you’re doing, but there are ways to do that whilst still remaining part of the fictional narrative.

One of these ways is to do the TV show within the TV show. This is where the cast of characters on the show are featured in a show within their own universe. It’s not a new idea and certainly not limited to TV. In a 1970’s comic Spider-Man teamed up with the cast of Saturday Night Live to battle the Silver Samurai and less than a decade later, David Letterman interviewed the Avengers in their own title. Entire TV shows are now made in a similar meta manner with the Office and Parks & Recreation being set as a TV show filming ‘real’ people. But this is more of a one off thing with characters from one show being involved in a TV show in their particular fictional universe and it can run the gamut of quality between okay and great and I wanted to have a look at some of them.


A Movie in the Making, Season 11 Episode 18, first aired 2 June 2016

This is the most common of this type. The primary plot is as it usually would be, in this case a police procedural with a focus on forensics, but this is intercut with talking heads of the characters fleshing things out. It doesn’t particularly add anything to the story, but it does shake things up for the audience and allow the actors to do something a little different. This episode is here because I needed 5 and beyond that isn’t really worth much beyond that.

Grey’s Anatomy

These arms of mine, Season 7, Episode 6, first aired 28 October 2010

This is a more emotional episode which looks at Seattle Grace Hospital six months after a mass shooting event. The staff and patients are interviewed about their experiences and how it has changed them and how that isn’t always in the ways you expect. It feeds more into the story than in the Bones episode and as a result fits into a narrative better. It uses the TV show idea as a way of examining the cast in a way the regular format wouldn’t have the chance to.


Ghostfacers, Season 3, Episode 13, first aired 10 February 2003

Another way of doing this is to have the main show’s characters appear in a different show. Here a web/local access series featuring characters called Zedmore and Spengler (yes, we get the joke) who do a Most Haunted style ghost chasing show and Sam and Dean Winchester get involved. Showing the main cast trying to keep this TV crew alive and themselves out of the limelight is interesting enough, but the main draw of Supernatural is that it had a sense of humour and often refused to take things seriously and it’s this trait that injects some fun into this episode.


A Constellation of Doubt, Season 4 episode 17, first aired 10 February 2003

This is also a bit of variation, more than half of this story is the lead character watching a TV show that was picked up by the space ship he is on. Previous to this story, the majority of the crew of Moya spent 3 months on Earth and it seemed to go okay. Problem is though it didn’t. The media of the time (in the first 18 months from 9/11) is full of fear and panic and this TV show that shows new footage of the aliens is used to emphasise how frightening these creatures are and the horror that their existence brings to mind. We get lovely character moments and commentary from talking heads and it mixes with the lead character talking with the rest of the cast and the crew’s searching for one of their own. The sad part of this, is how the show’s tone and themes of fear and distrust aren’t as dated as they should be. Most shows about aliens use the aliens to tell us things about ourselves, but this one shows us ourselves to tell us things about ourselves and honestly, it’s not good things.

Babylon 5

And Now for a Word, Season 2, Episode 15, first aired 3 May 1995

It’s not an understatement to say that modern genre TV owes a great debt to Babylon 5. Apart from utilising CGI to great success, to showcasing interesting ideas delivered in amazing performances and more, but it’s main contribution is that instead of being an episodic show, it was a serialised 5 year novel that had a clear beginning, middle and end. As a result it was able to showcase a world that changed and grew and was complex enough to feel lived it. It even showed the media of the time through the TV channel ISN (Interstellar News) being shown from time to time and this episode showed an ISN show about the titular space station.

The episode was shown as a TV special and yet was able to further plot and characterisation and being news based was able to show how the media of Earth views the various races and Earth itself. We saw an advert with the PsiCorp, well I say advert, it’s more propaganda and yet you can buy it being a thing. It lacks any kind of subtlety, but then doesn’t news TV? All in all it was one of the better examples of this kind of television show.

Well that’s the 5, can you think of any?

Posted in TV Stuff

Calling for a Doctor: Patrick Troughton Part 1

After the third year of Doctor Who being a bit of a damp squib and the Tenth Planet bringing to a close the first Doctor’s story in a quiet and unremarkable manner, a lot of work was dropped onto the lap of incoming lead actor Patrick Troughton.

He had to replace a well regarded actor, in a role he made iconic, walking the tightrope between keeping up some of the character, whilst being something new and different. It was a unique challenge at the time, with him being the first one to do it.

As in most of the replacement Doctor actors, the first part of the first story (The Power of the Daleks) was about the companions getting to know the Doctor, as the Doctor is getting to know himself. Rather than the cantankerous and grandfatherly Doctor of old, this new incarnation was a bit more whimsical. This was not a young man, but certainly a younger one. He often referred to his past actions as things ‘The Doctor’ did, rather than things he had done.

But he was also more curious and got into things a bit more, this new body revitalising him. When he finds in the story a dead body, he takes that person’s place and insinuates himself into life on Vulcan, a colony of Earth. At first he does it just to see what happens and what the deadman (known only as the Examiner) was here to examine.

But since this is a Doctor Who story, we get the discovery of a new threat, this time the return of the Daleks. Not the first time they’ve encountered the Doctor, but the first with this new face and just for a second it seems like they recognise him.

Since this is one of the many many lost stories, all you get from Troughton is his voice, since all of the images are animated, but you do get a feel for him as a character. He can do dramatic and comedic and plays it all with a bit of absent minded tomfoolery that endears you to him as a character. Whilst I am not a fan of Ben and Polly, his companions du jour, I am sold on Troughton himself and am happy to keep this re-watch going and see what adventures this new Doctor has in front of him. It is I suppose the part of Doctor Who I am the least aware of, I have watched something of every other Doctor and have had a sense of who they were and what they were about in the role, I had none of that with this guy, but now I am invested and I want to see where the Tardis takes him next.

Posted in TV Stuff

Calling for a Doctor: William Hartnell part 2 of 2

This week I have finished my watching of the first Doctor’s DVD releases. Excepting stories with missing episodes or even completely missing stories I have finished watching this entire character’s journey and I have thoughts.

The series very much falls into three distinct phases which mostly coincides with the different seasons, each showing either different sides of the Doctor, or differing styles in direction and production.

Season 1

Stories : An Unearthly Child, The Daleks, Edge of Destruction, The Keys of Marinus, The Aztecs, The Sensorites and The Reign of Terror.

Starting with the Unearthly Child, this season was about two unwelcome travellers trapped in the time/space ship of a strange and unfriendly soul who didn’t want them there. The heroes of the story were often the teachers Ian Chesterton & Barbara Wright who were teaching Susan Foreman and tried to investigate her living situation. Then they travel to prehistoric Earth, far future Skaro, the hostile planet Marinus, pre-columbian South America, another alien planet and revolutionary era France. This is not what you think of as Doctor Who, despite most of the perennial elements of Who being there. We have the companions pulled from their regular life, we have the Doctor and his blue box. But here the Doctor is not particularly heroic, to the extent that he considers killing his prisoner to give him and his granddaughter time to get back to his Tardis. Often it’s Ian Chesterton being the hero and dragging the Doctor into it, often quite reluctantly. Most of this season’s plot is the vain attempt to return Ian and Barbara to their original time in the 1960s. By the time the season comes to an end in the French Revolution, this is now more of a ‘traditional’ Doctor Who programme and the formula for how this show could be done is established.

High points include the first episode of An Unearthly Child, the Daleks and the Keys of Marius, which showcases the versatility of the show and the cast by being several mini-stories in service to a larger arc.

Season 2: Planet of Giants, The Dalek Invasion of Earth, The Rescue, The Romans, The Web Planet, The Space Museum, The Chase, and The Time Meddler.

This is the for me William Hartnell’s best season, It is also the season that shows more variety in story type, length and even tone. We get a return of the Daleks to the show, but an earlier version of the Daleks who are still trying to conquer the galaxy. We get a look at the Earth’s bleak future and the first loss in the cast. We say goodbye to Susan who remains on Earth in 2150 to help rebuild. Then we get Vicky, who is a girl from the further future who the crew rescue from an alien world and reinforces the Doctor’s paternal and nurturing side as he pretty much adopts this teenage girl. We get a comedy story with the Romans as the Tardis crashlands in Nero’s Rome and the crew decide to take a month off. We then get kidnapping, slavery, political assassination and the burning of Rome. After that the Tardis leaves again and we get a couple of more spacey stories before we get the Chase. I think the Chase cements the Daleks as the arch-enemy of the Doctor and ups their threat as they crack time travel and are able to go after the Doctor, no matter where he goes. The Chase has it’s ups, downs and comedy moments before we get to say goodbye to Ian and Barbara who use the Daleks’ time machine to go back to Earth. They miss by a couple of years, landing in 1965, but since they’d been on the show for 2 years, that sort of makes sense. They destroy the Dalek’s time machine and go back to the regular lives, but the story also introduces Steven Taylor, a space pilot who survived alone on an alien world for years and accidentally hitches a ride on the Tardis. The Time Meddler then pits these three relative strangers against the Monk, who is a member of the same race as the Doctor, proved by his owning his own Tardis and trying to alter things as he sees it, not putting things right, but accelerating the development of Great Britain’s history. The Doctor defeats him and we get to see how different a person with the Doctor’s talent and equipment could be. The season ends on a high and to be honest, all of these stories (with the possible exception of the Web Planet) are highlights in my eyes and it solidified that this rewatch was a good idea and encouraged me to carry on with it.

Season 3: Galaxy 4, Mission to the Unknown, The Ark, The Gunfighters, The War Machines and the Tenth Planet.

If season two was the zenith, then 3 is the nadir. Galaxy 4 is an interesting idea that suffers from being reconstructed and very poorly paced making the whole thing a bit boring. Mission to the Unknown did not involve the main cast as was a set up to a story that isn’t all there, the big problem with season 3 is the sheer number of missing stories and the version of Mission to the Unknown I watched was a reconstruction by some University students uploaded to YouTube. The Ark is a good idea that struggles to keep it’s pacing on point and in a missing story we have lost Vicky to ancient Troy and now have Dodo Chaplet a teen girl from the mid 1960’s who is a bit of a shot in the arm for the show as her and Steven bounce off one another well and Steven increases his bristling against the Doctor’s authority. Behind the scenes, things weren’t going well, the who production staff had changed and William Hartnell’s health had begun to decline and whilst he was often difficult, now he was struggling to maintain the schedule and remember his lines. More and more the companions had to do more of the heavy lifting and relegate the Doctor to second fiddle in his own show, which made the actor more irascible. After the amusing Gunfighters, Steven left the show and halfway through the War Machines, so did Dodo, who never really fulfilled the promise she showed in the Ark. The team would try again to inject youth and more of it’s time characters with Ben and Polly who started in the War Machines and left with the Doctor for his final adventure.

The Tenth Planet was memorable for two important reasons, one was the introduction of the Cybermen who did the whole dehumanising cyborg thing 20+ years before Star Trek gave us the Borg. As bargain basement as they looked, they were a body horror delightad in what they represented, a humanity devoid of everything we think of as humanity and only interested in consumption and survival. There’s a reason that they have survived each iteration of the Doctor. The other reason it’s important is that it’s where Hartnell left the show. Health and personal issues were wreaking havoc with the show and it could survive as long as someone else took the starring role. Being an alien, they could just come up with a reason to change the actor, which they did. The Doctor’s body wore out and it changed into the new guy, same name new face, well new everything.

Patrick Troughton came in and he had big shoes to fill and a lot of work to do, but the character and the show had regenerated and possibly the best was yet to come.

Posted in Miscellaneous, TV Stuff

2022 What a s**tshow – Part 3

To describe this year as challenging would be something of an understatement to the level of calling the grand canyon a bit of a ditch. I have come close to cracking more than once and joy and calm have been things that were seldom found. That said, I am trying to look at things in a more positive light and can look back at the year with a more cheerful disposition and look at the good things that 2022 have brought.


I have enjoyed this year the audio adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s famous Sandman comics, in fact I have been listening to the 3rd volume this week. However I was even more pleased to see it come to television as well. Well cast and well realised this was faithful enough to the comic, but different enough to justify it’s existence as its own thing. Mostly telling the first half dozen stories as one thing it tells the story of Dream, one of the Endless entities (including personifications of Desire, Delirium, Destiny, Despair and Death) who is held captive for over 100 years and must free himself and reclaim both his post as lord of the Dreaming and his power. It’s not light by any stretch of the imagination and the themes and events are for the adults in the audience, but it’s well worth trying.


This was suggested by the MIGHTY Rosie and I will be honest, I wasn’t keen to try and yet we did. This was so much fun. Moments of drama, humour and horror blended so well that you laughed and took a breath several times without the tone being disjointed. The cast was perfect and the story kept you guessing and had a couple of red herrings that made you suspect how it would play out, but still managed to surprise you. It was fun and for the most part the whole family could enjoy it.

Book of Boba Fett

This was at first a hard sit. It was slow and ponderous with an over-reliance on flashbacks to give the story shape. I mean the cast was good, no one is questioning that, but I’m not too sure that this was a story dying to be told and it looks like the makers of the show realised it too because the last two episodes seemed to change from being the 1st series of Book of Boba Fett and became the 3rd series of Mandalorian. At that point, the series became more action packed and above all fun, It’s a hard sit for the 1st 4 or 5, but it does end with a bang. I don’t know if all of these Star Wars shows aren’t a waste of time, but at least this was fun.


I read Spriggan stories years ago as part of some Manga anthology years ago. This was high concept sci-fi stuff with modern man finding artefacts from a pre-historic era that ended with mass destruction. The only message from this older time was a warning to not make the same mistakes again. A group called ARCAM use enhanced operatives to find and hide away these things that have the capacity to destroy the world.

Doctor Who

As part of SuperSam’s cultural education, myself and the MIGHTY Rosie have introduced him to the post reboot Doctor Who and over the last week or two have finished watching the first season, bringing and end to the Christopher Eccleston run and in the new year we will start with David Tennant’s tenure (the MIGHTY Rosie’s favourite) and hope to talk more about that as we go along.

In closing TV has been pretty solid this year, but not too much in newly produced stuff I must admit as looking back at TV we enjoyed before, or watching older stuff that we didn’t see at the time seem to be how things are going forward, but still there was some good stuff there.

Next Time: But what about everything else?

Posted in TV Stuff

Calling for a Doctor: Christopher Eccleston

Whilst as a personal project, I have been watching Doctor Who from the beginning and am currently on the home strait for William Hartnell, as a family I, the MIGHTY Rosie and SuperSam have started watching NuWho from it’s first episode Rose which first aired in 2005.

This was something of a risk in the TV landscape of 2005, Sci-fi on TV was not at it’s height and the Marvel Cinematic Universe was still a few years off, so this had to be something of a passion project or the showrunner Russell T Davies. He brought it back, but had to do things a little different.

The first thing he did was with the writing push the companion more into a starring role. Instead of the old exposition prompt and damsel in distress he made the companions more like friends who were being shown cool stuff rather than the props that some of them had been,

He also changed the aesthetic, gone was the victorian dressing and posh Doctor who tried to avoid any trace of accent. In it’s place was Eccleston sounded like a northerner because he was. They even hung a lantern on it with the exchange “If you’re an alien,, howcome you sound like you’re from the north.” “Lots of planets have a north.”

With that fresh take, we got more fun and more humanity to this alien wanderer. Eccleston’s Doctor was the last of his kind, lone survivor a war across time. The Last Great Time War. He is haunted, angry and in need of something or someone to bring him out of it. Then came Rose who was looking to escape her life of shopwork, chips and her safe relationship. Two people who needed one another and who were both equally changed despite the 880 year age gap. This was sort of a love story and the story of redemption.

Despite only getting 13 episodes, you saw this Doctor go from dismissive and angry to caring and actually quite sweet. He gives up his chance to escape his most feared and hated enemy to save Rose and gives up his chance at vengeance to save the population of a future Earth. In the end he finds peace and then is glad to become someone else because of this human.

I don’t know if he is ‘my doctor’ or if I even have one, but he brought Doctor Who back to where it had been 20 years earlier which was must see TV. He brought the madman in the blue box back and restarted his hearts. My son was enthralled by the series and was sad when the Doctor ‘died’ after the words “You were fantastic and you know what, so was I.” Yes you were Chris.

Without this Doctor, we wouldn’t have the Doctor back and the new start it gave the next guy wouldn’t be there. Building on that, the best was yet to come.

Posted in TV Stuff

Cutting the cable and diving into the stream

Everyone’s feeling the pinch at the moment. Inflation rising and so the costs of thing is rising faster than everyone’s wages. We are earning less in real times than we have been and as a result, lots of people are cutting back on things.

One of those costs at our end has been our TV and internet bill. I looked at the amount we were paying and then checked it against what we watching. You would expect that the satellite/cable service would be a large portion of it, based on the number of channels and the convenience. But as the whole of the family looked into it, we found less and less satellite and freeview TV being watched. So I cut the cord.

It was liberating. Now we watch a similar amount of TV programmes/films, but less time watching TV weirdly. Between streaming services and my admittedly excessive DVD/Blu-Ray collection, I have plenty to watch. The overabundance of advertising and the seemingly unending list of reality TV, traveldocs and less than inticing ‘must see’ dramas is not something I miss. I don’t even have my aerial in now.

The point (other than depriving Sky of my money) is that I watch what I want to watch, no schedule, no timetable. Despite an earlier post talking about too much (I still regret writing that) I have found having such a glut of entertainment choices means that I always have options. I can find my joy and only have on what I want to have on.

I highly recommend this for others. Watch only what you want to watch, there are enough streaming services and review sites so you can find what you’ve missed out on. There has been enough made to watch only the things you enjoy. By the time you have gone through the best, there are whole series of new things to enjoy. With DVR, DVD/Blu-Ray and Streaming Apps, the response to “What’s on TV tonight?” can always be “Whatever I want.”

Posted in TV Stuff

5 more theme tunes that transcend

Well here are some more tv ear worms for your enjoyment. Clips courtesy of YouTube

The Flintstones

The Flintstones was the first real success in adapting a sitcom into an animated show. Another example is Top Cat. This was an adaptation of the Honeymooners and one of the early fat guy with inexplicably hot wife set ups that continues to this day. The tune though is memorable and when the show was adapted to a live action film, the tune was released as a single. Also, who wouldn’t want to leave work that way?


I have never seen an episode of the TV show Rawhide. Westerns aren’t my thing and I am not as old as all that. But I knew the tune and it’s fun. Then I was watching the film the Blues Brothers and here it was again.

The A-Team

In 1972 a crack commando unit …… It conjures a tale of betrayed heroes and rising action and was much like the show, larger than life and an almost cartoon like spectacle. It showed up again in the ubiquitous live action film and also in the sitcom Spaced and if you are of a certain age, the staccato gunshots showing the opening titles with bring a Saturday afternoon smile.

Ally McBeal

This was a suggestion by the MIGHTY Rosie and I am not sure I agree, but it is a testament to this shows popularity and its watchability, because I hated this tune. Much like the A-Team however, the opening bit gets a smile.


Is there any way at all that this wasn’t going here? It’s a tune 🎶 that people who have never seen the show know. Almost more that Batman it’s the super hero show tune people think of the most. It’s appeared on film, on TV and more. The show has also made it to memes, but that’s another story

Well that’s all folks, these are the ones I thought of, but clearly I missed some. Let me know which ones internet people, am counting on you.


Posted in TV Stuff

5 Theme tunes that transcend the show

One of the most endearing elements of the television show is the opening credits. This is becoming something of a dying art, with shorter openings and some shows having no theme tune to go with it. Some tunes do so well that just hearing it brings the show back to mind, Cheers had Where everybody knows your name, almost a perfect theme tune.

For me, some go beyond that, transcending the show that they are opening and get to a point where you remember the tune far more than the show.


This one might just be personal to me, very few people I know even remember this show. But this tune often floats around in my head. When re-designing the site, I used a line from this song ‘funkiest monkey there ever was’ as a sort of sub-title. It was catchy and fun and sticks in my head better than the show ever did.

Knight Rider

Beyond the show that catapulted ‘the Hoff’ to megastardom, it was a show with one of the best mood setting tunes in TV history. The tune has been repurposed several times, a memorable one is part of Busta Rhyme’s ‘Fire it up!’ and that brought the tune back to prominence again. To describe how this lives rent free in my head, all I need say is that it’s my alarm tune. I hear it 5 days per week and am glad of it.


Nana nana nana nana Batman! It’s become a meme. It’s been a joke for a long time, but you know it. When you think of comic book stuff on TV, it’s one of the first you think of. Whenever comic related stuff was discussed in mainstream news, the sound effects from this show appear to highlight it’s silliness. That said, it was supposed to be camp and silly and when viewed through that lens is exactly what it should be and has the theme song to match.

Scooby Doo, where are you?

This is another one that might just be me. but the song and it’s opening credits stick in my head more so that the show ever did. Despite there being dozens of movies and shows featuring the most famous Great Dane and his human side-kicks, this is the one that they are all based on, or are all compared to.


“Well no one told you life was going to be this waaayyyy.’ and with that, you’re already clapping

One of those theme tunes that hit the charts and became synonymous with the show and yet more still. Can’t say anymore than that really.

Well that’s what’s been rolling around my head for the past few days. I will no doubt think of more and do an unnecessary sequel before too long.

Ttfn Internet people,

Posted in TV Stuff

5 Hidden Gems of 90s Films

Due to stuff related to home, I have been going through my admittedly expansive DVD collection. It left me with the idea that there are a lot of fun films both in my collection and not that came out in the 90s and are ignored or undervalued. These aren’t parts of large franchises, or huge blockbusters, but are films I both have enjoyed and feel deserve a bit of recognition for being a lot of fun.

Lets start with an obscure one – Cold-blooded

This was a bit of a dark comedy from 1995. Directed by Wallace Wolodarsky and had Jason Priestly, Kimberley Williams-Paisley, Peter Riegert and Robert Loggia. It’s about bookie working for the mob who is promoted to apprentice hitman, given his calm and dispassionate nature, he’s very good at it. He’s also trying to have a relationship with a yoga teacher and work out what it is he should be doing. It’s a charming film that I don’t know if anyone else has seen.

Dark City

Written and directed by Alex Proyas and featuring acting talent of Rufus Sewell, Kiefer Sutherland, Jennifer Connelly, William Hurt and the always fun Richard O’Brien. This is a story that plays with concepts of memory, free will and perception as beings known as Strangers meddle with the memory of the denizens of some unnamed city where it’s always night, as they try to find something and when they find it, things get even more strange.


After the critical smash of Clerks, Writer/Director Kevin Smith was given a budget, access to a set in daylight and a larger cast of actors to make his second film. This second film did not do well at the box office. Comic obsessed slacker Brodieman Bruce and his best friend TS visit their local mall to win back their ex-girlfriends through a series of escapades with a variety of bizarre characters in their New Jersey town. Starring a cast of Jason Lee, Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, Michael Rooker, Ethan Suplee, Claire Forlani and the legend that is the late Stan Lee, this is a fun and foul mouthed romp that while sank like a stone at the time, found it’s audience on DVD and late night TV. I watched this before seeing the movie Clerks and honestly as a result it has more of a place in my heart. It also gave the world a number of quotable moments, one of my favourite exchanges being “…screw her in an uncomfortable place.”

“What? Like the back of a Volkswagen?” 27 years on, still makes me giggle.


This was a small almost Outer Limits style story, written and directed by Andrew Niccol that was given a budget and a tremendous cast including Ethan Hawke, Jude Law, Uma Thurman, Jayne Brook, Elias Koteas, Tony Shaloub and Alan Arkin. It’s a sepia tinged future were designer babies are the norm, their paid for genes being all they need to have to succeed and anyone born less than perfect, or even born naturally are considered in-valid, creating a two tier system. This genetics based aparthied allegory is the story of Vincent, an in-valid who borrows a crippled man’s superior genes and identity to become an astronaut, but as his launch day nears, his lies begin to unravel as a murder opens his workplace to the police. This is sci-fi with thought and tension and keeps your interest in the story throughout.

The Fifth Element

Luc Besson brought us this neon-flavoured chunk of space opera in 1997. We get a story about an ancient evil, the hero/saviour trying to save us from it and the more of less regular guy caught up in the whole thing. I know, so far, so Star Wars. But two things up it from such a limited idea. The first is humour. This is a funny film with several comedy moments and ludicrous ideas being thrown out. Even Chris Tucker and Lee Evans, two ‘comedians’ I struggle to stand doing their mugging to the camera and manufactured zaniness work in this world adding fun to a usually po-faced type of story. The other thing that this has is production design. This film looks like nothing you have ever seen before. It is neon and bright and yet somehow relatable. It gives us a grimy future, but still one with promise. The cast is amazing, a still fun Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman being bizarre and in fact the whole cast is amazing. The story is fairly basic and there’s the odd problematic thing here and there, but it’s a fun slice of sci-fi action that looks nothing like anything else that was out there at the time.

So there, 5 underappreciated films of the 1990s, since starting this, 3 or 4 more have to come to mind and I’m guessing that there may be a sequel in here somewhere, but with so much going on, both personally, nationally and globally, I suppose I wanted a bit of comfort food for the soul and a good hidden gem is exactly what was needed.

I will be back internet people, I don’t know what to say yet, but I didn’t when I started writing this post either.


Posted in Comics n Stuff, TV Stuff

5 90’s Comic Book Films

It is hard to imagine in the days of the MCU and the DCEU that a vast array of comic book related movies is still a relatively new concept. Go back 15 years and there was a glut of them of varying quality, 10-15 years before that and it’s still varying quality, but there is only a few of them, which meant it was easier to see them all. That said there was some quality in there.

Most of the ones I chose had a very pulp heroes feel to it, with only one being a traditional super-hero from the big two. The was less product, but more variety, which is a bit sad.

First up is…..

The Rocketeer: 1991 – Dir Joe Johnstone

This is not so much an adaptation, but an homage to republic serials of the 30’s like ‘King of the Rocketmen’ and has been adapted to comics several times since. This is a genuinely fun film, suited for a bank holiday afternoon. It’s a period piece, set in that sweet-spot between the pulp heroes era, the start of the golden age of comics and before the second world war. The cast are fantastic with stand-outs being Jennifer Connelly, who does her best with the thankless ‘damsel in distress’ role and Timothy Dalton taking whole chunks out of the scenery. It’s a sort of film that doesn’t get made anymore and we are sadder for it.

The Shadow: 1994 Dir Russel Mulcahy

Before he was known as a Trump imitator, a comedy performer and a guy famed for his anger, Alec Baldwin was something of a leading man. Here he stars as Lamont Cranston, a criminal searching for redemption posing as a rich dilettante by day and crime fighting mystery man called the Shadow at night. Able to cloud the minds of men and alter his face he battles criminals with his skills, his guns and a network of people who owe him their lives. He battles a descendent of Genghis Khan in 1930’s New York while romancing Margo Lane. A lot of it is silly, but this is again a fun film that doesn’t ask much of you and is a lot of fun beside.

Batman 🦇 Forever: 1995 Dir Joel Shumacher

After the culture phenom that was Tim Burton’s Batman films, Warner Bros went in a different direction for the follow up. Gone was the gothic themes and quirky performances and here was something a bit more camp and over the top. Val Kilmer does an okay job as Bruce Wayne and Batman and Jim Carrey channels his inner Frank Gorshin to give us an energetic Riddler. There are missteps, but honestly this is a comic book on the big screen and if you wanted nuance, realism and coherence in your comic adaptations, then you were not reading comics in the 1990’s. Comparing this to Batman, or Batman Returns shows the films flaws, compare it to Batman & Robin and it starts looking like Citizen Kane.

The Phantom: 1996 Dir Simon Wincer

This was one of the last of those campy superhero-esque films of that decade. Billy Zane dons the purple (yes purple) tights of Kit Walker, the current iteration of the Phantom, the Ghost Who Walks. Battling pirates, mercenaries and corrupt businessmen in the 1930’s this film feels in keeping with Rocketeer and the Shadow and is again a lot of fun. Zane is not the best actor, but he gives it his all and this puts some earnestness to the character that carries him across the finish line. The Phantom is an interesting character and it’s a shame that this under-appreciated classic didn’t lead to more of a series of films, maybe exploring this past and future of the ghost who walks.

Blade: 1998 Dir Stephen Norrington

This was one of the films that changed the who comic book movie genre forever. Blade was a side character in the critical darling Tomb of Dracula comic by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan. New Line took the idea from the comic, jettisoned some of the more 70’s ideas and added some stuff and out came this fun and violent action-horror. Wesley Snipes owns the screen as Blade, a half-vampire/half-human who craving for blood is curbed by a serum and with the vengeance obsessed Whistler fights a nightly battle against a subculture of vampires whose daytime familiars cover up their existence. When a haematologist is turned, Blade becomes personally involved just as Deacon Frost, the vampire who turned his mother, altering him in-utero is trying to change the nature of the vampire/human world. This is a lot of fun, action, some comedy and body horror that put a marvel property on the big screen and made some money. When other studios started paying attention we got the X-Men and Spider-Man franchises and the rest is history.

So that was 5 comic booky movies from the 90’s, all of them are worth checking out if you just want some mindless fun that’s better than you expect it will be.